The combination of two penthouse units into one at New York City’s 220 Riverside Boulevard building gave designer Whitehall Interiors 4,000 square feet of space to re-create from the top down. The clients had asked for a look that was on the traditional side, but designer Karen Asprea felt that the 255-square-foot kitchen could incorporate some modern elements as well.

A palette of tone-on-tone materials—white marble in particular—exists throughout the entire Upper West Side condo, which also includes a dining room, living room, study, master bedroom, two guest rooms, three full baths, and one half-bath. The kitchen is no different, with marble accents set off by white walls and contrasting walnut floors, but the smallest details contribute to a look that walks a tightrope between old and new.

The lighting fixtures are the most starkly modern feature. The pendant and recessed offerings speak to modern style even as they blend into the white-on-white space. The traditional white Shaker cabinet doors are set off by sleek steel hardware and a high-gloss lacquer finish. “The result is a modern, clean look with classic detailing,” Asprea says.

At 13 feet long, the Calacatta gold marble island dominates the middle of the 17-foot-by-15-foot kitchen and parallels its floor-to-ceiling views of New York City. It effectively divides the space in half and facilitates both entertaining and heavy-duty cooking, even in the same moment. “We really designed this space to be used for both social activities and serious cooking,” Asprea says.

Asprea intended to use a full Gaggenau appliance package at first, which would have tipped the aesthetic toward a more modern impression. However, she decided that the kitchen was large enough to carry some more industrial details, which might have looked bulky in a smaller space. The 36-inch, black Bertazzoni slide-in range provides a prominent point of contrast against the openness of the rest of the kitchen. Its impact extends to the ceiling through a custom AKDO tile mosaic, which draws the eye to the industrial stainless steel vent hood. Asprea also utilized two fully integrated Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer units, and kept the Gaggenau line for the dishwasher and microwave drawer.

“The black really works in this kitchen,” Asprea says. “It’s a little unexpected but still strong and elegant.”

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